• This 10-year-old from Bhopal runs her own library to educate slum kids

    “I just love reading and I have read books on Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad and other freedom fighters,” said Muskaan Ahirwar to SheThePeople.TV.  Ten-year-old Muskan has started her own library- Bal Pustakalay- in March this year in Arena Hills of Bhopal.

    Muskaan, who is studying in fourth standard currently, told us that it was the Rashtriya Shiksha Kendra that encouraged her to start her own library. The State Education Board realised that the children in the slum areas and neighbouring communities are not reading enough and not acquiring knowledge.

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    Muskaan tells us, “A lot of people came from the Education board and they started some games on competition for the children of our locality, but I could not meet them then. They came again twice or thrice but couldn’t not meet them because of some reason or the other. Finally, on 25 January I met with them and they really liked the fact that I was into reading so with their support the library started on 26 January.”

    In the library that she sets up outside her house everyday, Muskaan organises games and competitions and reads books for all the children from her locality including the children from surrounding slum areas. A person from the education board comes to teach the children, and she participates in that as well. Muskaan’s three other siblings help her in running the library. Her elder sister Neha, she says, teaches the kids about different things.

    “My parents are very happy with the work that we do. They encourage us to do more, educate other children and want us to make them and the country proud,” smiles Muskaan.

    About the significance of reading, she says that it is very very important. “I read al kinds of books from books on freedom fighters to science to jokes to panchatantra stories. We get to learn a lot by reading and sometimes it’s for fun.”

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    At the recently concluded Women Transforming India Awards 2016, Muskan won an award. She was felicitated by Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik, and the young girl then gifted Sakshi a book on Jhansi ki Rani from her own library.

    She started with only 25 books in her library given to her by the education board, but today Muskaan’s library today has over 120 books given to her by different people.

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